George A. Elmore

George Elmore
George A. Elmore born March 31, 1905 died February 25, 1959. At the time this picture was made, Elmore was probably a driver with the Blue Ribbon Taxi Club in Columbia. His would become one of the best known names in the annuls of post-World War 11 Southern legal and political history. He attempted to vote in South Carolina's all-white Democratic primary in August 1946. Denied the ballot, he agreed to become the "guinea pig" in a suit filed by the NAACP on February 21, 1947 in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina against the manager of Columbia's Ward Nine and the Richland County Democratic Executive Committee, with John L. Rice named as defendant.

Elmore's case was argued by Thurgood Marshall before Judge J. Waites Waring, who on July 12 ruled that the Democratic Party of South Carolina could no longer exclude qualified Negroes from participating in primary elections. Waring's decision destroyed the all-white primary in the state. Elmore, who from 1945-1948 was manager of the Waverly Five and Dime Store, reportedly became the victim of economic reprisals and neglect and by 1957 disappeared from the scene. In 1981, a group of Columbia blacks erected a monument located just inside the upper entrance to the historic old Randolph Cemetery. The inscription reads:

Sacred to the Memory of George Elmore Who through unmatched Courage, Perseverance and Personal Sacrifice, brought The Legal Action by Which Black People May Participate in South Carolina Democratic Party Primary Elections- "Elmore vs. Rice," 1947.




Last Update: 10/2008
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